2009 North West Regional Championship - First Section: Runners & Riders


Will any of the bands here really get to grips with a fearsome test piece. Or will it be last man standing to get to Harrogate?

Winter GardensSunday 1st March
Empress Ballroom
Adjudicator: Colin Hardy
Test Piece: Pentacle – Graham Cole

Draw: 9.30am
Commences: 10.30am

AshtonAshton Under Lyne
Martyn Evans 

Last 13 Years:
2008: 4th (C. Whiteoak)
2007: 6th (P. Chalk)
2006: 7th in First Section (P. Chalk)
2005: 2nd (P. Chalk)
2004: DNC
2003: 9th in Championship Section (J. Maines) (rel)
2002: 2nd in First Section (J. Maines) (prom)
2001: 9th in Championship Section  (M. Evans) (rel)
2000: 9th (M. Evans)
1999: Winners of First Section (prom)
1998: Winners of Second Section (prom)
1997: Winners of Third Section (prom)
1996: DNC

The return of Martyn Evans sees a return of the MD who masterminded the band’s unprecedented hat trick of title victories of the late 1990’s.

Things have changed since then of course, but the band has  been rebuilding solidly in the past few years and may well be in just the right shape to pick up another victory after coming 4th last year and taking the Pontins title last November. 

Blackburn Blackburn and Darwen
Nick Sheppard

Last 13 Years:
2008: 2nd (N. Sheppard)
2007: 8th in Championship Section (N. Sheppard) (rel)
2006: 12th (N. Sheppard)
2005: 3rd in First Section (N. Sheppard) (prom)
2004: 6th (N. Sheppard)
2003: 5th (G. Pritchard)
2002: 12th (E. Landon)
2001: 5th (E. Landon)
2000: 9th (E. Landon)
1999: 7th
1998: 6th
1997: 6th
1996: 12th Championship Section (rel)

The form horse it would seem. Blackburn & Darwen’s hard work under Nick Sheppard is starting to pay off in a big way, and after a highly encouraging performance at the National Finals last year, they opened their 2009 season with a superb win at Butlins.

That should see them full of confidence as they look to go one better than last year – and you wouldn’t bet against them doing just that.  

BlackpoolBlackpool Brass
Chris Larder

Last 13 Years:
2008: 11th (A. White)
2007: 2nd in Second Section (A. Warriner) (prom)
2006: Winners of Second Section (A. Warriner)
2005: 9th (S. Simpson)
2004: 8th (S. Simpson)
2003: 6th in Third Section (S. Simpson) (prom)
2002: 5th (G. Smith)
2001: 13th in Second Section (S. Blair) (rel)
2000: 14th (S. Blair)
1999: 8th
1998: 11th
1997: 11th
1996: 8th 
Chris Larder takes over the podium slot with Blackpool this year and to a band that has found life in the First Section a bit tougher than they would have hoped. They need a decent result to ensure they are not drawn into any sort of relegation battle.

They have enjoyed success here though over the last few years and with the MD looking to make an immediate mark they should be confident of at least holding their own.  

Peter Christian 

Last 13 Years:
2008: 9th (P. Christian)
2007: 4th in Second Section (P. Christian) (prom)
2006: 2nd (P. Christian)
2005: 10th in First Section (P. Christian) (rel)
2004: 9th (P. Christian)
2003: Winners of Second Section (P. Christian) (prom)
2002: 6th (P. Christian)
2001: 4th (T. Power)
2000: 7th (T. Power)
1999: 6th in First Section (rel)
1998: 10th
1997: 3rd in Second Section (prom)
1996: 5th
Bollington have kept faith so to speak in the talents of Peter Christian and were rewarded with a return to the First Section last year.

They just about held their own last time out, but they seem to be a much more settled band now and the MD has bags of experience under his belt to ensure they move further up the results table this weekend. 

Les Beevers 

Last 13 Years:
2008: 13th (L. Beevers)
2007: 8th (L. Beevers)
2006: 4th (N. Law)
2005: 2nd in Second Section (N. Law) (prom)
2004: 5th (N. Law)
2003: Winners of Third Section (N. Law) (prom)
2002: 9th (D. Morris)
2001: 4th (D. Morris)
2000: Winners of Fourth Section (D. Morris) (prom)
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: DNC

4BR has been informed that Diggle Band has now withdrawn.   

Paul Dalton

Last 13 Years:
2008: 11th in Championship Section (P. Dalton) (rel)
2007: 9th (P. Dalton)
2006: 7th (P. Dalton)
2005: Winners of First Section (P. Dalton) (prom)
2004: 9th Championship Section (P. Dalton) (rel)
2003: 7th (P. Dalton)
2002: 8th (P. Dalton)
2001: 4th (P. Dalton)
2000: 7th (P. Dalton)
1999: 7th
1998: 10th
1997: Winners of First Section (prom)
1996: 4th

Freckleton return to the First Section after a three year period in which they just found life progressively difficult in the top section, culminating in relegation after coming 12th last year.

They are a band with plenty of quality in the ranks though and should be confident of more than making a mark after winning the Wilkinson’s contest late last year and coming runner up at Brass at the Guild Hall just a couple of weeks ago. A repeat of that form and Harrogate will beckon. 

Mark Quinn
Last 13 Years:
2008: 12th (N. McNulty)
2007: DNC
2006: 9th in Championship Section (E. Kennedy) (rel)
2005: 11th (L. Nicholson)
2004: 6th (L. Nicholson)
2003: 3rd (I. Brownbill)
2002: 6th (I. Brownbill)
2001: 4th in First Section (I. Brownbill) (prom)
2000: 5th (C. Wormald)
1999: 3rd
1998: 5th
1997: Winners of Second Section (prom)
1996: 4th 

Good to see Haydock back in the starting enclosure again, especially as they struggled last year to make any sort of mark in coming 12th.

That may mean that they will be looking over their shoulders somewhat to ensure that there is no hint of possible relegation and in Mark Quinn they have a talented MD to help them.  

Steve Tarry 

Last 13 Years:
2008: 8th (S. Tarry)
2007: 7th (P. Lockett)
2006: =10th in Championship Section (G. Pritchard) (rel)
2005: 8th (S. Booth)
2004: 10th (S. Booth)
2003: 3rd in First Section (B. Baker) (prom)
2002: 10th in Championship Section (S. Booth) (rel)
2001: DNC
2000: Winners of First Section (M. Cotter)
1999: 5th
1998: 11th in Championship Section (rel)
1997: 9th
1996: 2nd in First Section (prom)

A band that has been bouncing between the sections in recent times, but has been finding it tough to make a real mark in the past two years.

Steve Tarry is a talented MD, but he may need to get better form out of his band if they are to really push for a top six place or better. 9th place at Brass at the Guild Hall followed 6th at Wilkinson’s late last season and showed just how much work is needed.  

ManxManx Concert Brass
Ian Clague MBE 

Last 13 Years:
2008: 3rd in Second Section (I. Clague MBE) (prom)
2007: 6th (I. Clague MBE)
2006: 5th (I. Clague MBE)
2005: 6th (I. Clague MBE)
2004: 12th (I. Clague MBE)
2003: 2nd (I. Clague MBE)
2002: 9th (I. Clague MBE)
2001: Winners of Third Section (I. Clague MBE) (prom)
2000: 4th (I. Clague MBE)
1999: Winners of Third Section
1998: 16th
1997: 3rd
1996: Winners of Fourth Section (prom)

The rise of Manx Concert Brass continues – 12 years ago they were winning the Fourth Section, and now they are just a couple of steps away from a possible Championship Section debut.

Ian Clague has done a tremendous job building his band into a really solid outfit and we think they will be determined to make a mark on their debut at this level. A possible dark horse? 

Duncan Byers

Last 13 Years:
2008: 7th (D. Byers)
2007: 3rd (D. Byers)
2006: DNC
2005: 12th in Championship Section (M. Evans) (rel)
2004: 3rd in First Section (M. Evans) (prom)
2003: 10th in Championship Section (M. Evans) (rel)
2002: 11th (J. Davies)
2001: Winners of First Section (S. Stonehouse) (prom)
2000: 2nd (S. Stonehouse)
1999: 4th
1998: 7th
1997: 10th
1996: 2nd in Second Section (prom)

Duncan Byers will be looking to return Mossley back to the podium this year after falling away somewhat twelve months ago when the band could only come 7th.

Just a few years ago the band was in the top flight, and although a return there might be a little way away as yet, a decent return this weekend, building on 4th place at Wilkinson’s late last season could well be within their grasp. 

Robert Taylor

Last 13 Years:
2008: 5th (R. Tyalor)
2007: 9th (R. Taylor)
2006: 9th (R. Taylor)
2005: 5th (R. Taylor)
2004: 5th (R. Taylor)
2003: 8th (S. Booth)
2002: 7th (M. Peacock)
2001: 12th (D. Barry)
2000: 3rd (D. Barry)
1999: 3rd in Second Section (prom)
1998: 7th in Second Section
1997: 2nd in Second Section
1996: DNC

Robert Taylor has done a real solid job with Tyldesley over the past few years – as shown by their results here.

5th place twelve months ago was a  good result, but the recent performance at Preston saw them come a disappointing 9th, and they were also 15th at Pontins. They won’t want to see that on their CV again for sure.   

PoyntonVernon Building Society Poynton
Kevin Gibbs
Last 13 Years:
2008: 3rd (A. Lawton MBE)
2007: 11th in Championship Section (A. Lawton) (rel)
2006: 3rd in First Section (A. Lawton) (prom)
2005: 6th (A. Lawton)
2004: 2nd (A. Lawton)
2003: 11th (M. Obermuller)
2002: 4th (M. Obermuller)
2001: 10th (M. Obermuller)
2000: DNC
1999: 10th in Championship Section (rel)
1998: 3rd in First Section (prom)
1997: 4th
1996: 11th Championship Section (rel) 

Kevin Gibbs takes over the reins at Poynton this year from Alan Lawton and he has inherited a very solid contesting band.

Poynton just missed out on a trip to Harrogate last year but had a decent season nonetheless ending it with 5th place at Pontins. 3rd place at Butlins showed their qualities once more, so they will fancy a trip to North Yorkshire come September if they play like that again. 

WardleWardle and District Anderson Brass
Sean Conway

Last 13 Years:
2008: Winners of Second Section (S. Conway) (prom)
2007: Winners (S. Conway)
2006: 4th in Third Section (S. Conway) (prom)
2005: 5th (S. Conway)
2004: 4th (D. Beckley)
2003: 2nd in Fourth Section (P. Shaw) (prom)
2002: 3rd (P. Shaw)
2001: DNC
2000: 9th in Third Section (C. Barnes) (rel)
1999: 12th
1998: 11th
1997: 10th
1996: 13th
Former Fairey’s player Sean Conway has done a wonderful job at Wardle – including a brace of titles in the past two years.

They now make the step up in class and given their recent form (they were excellent value for their runner up spot at Harrogate last year) they should be confident of pushing for yet another trip to the Finals. 

Past Qualifiers:

2008: Roberts Bakery, Blackburn & Darwen
2007: Timperley, Poulton-le-Fylde
2006: Wire Brass, United Co-op (Crewe)
2005: Freckleton, Ashton Under Lyne
2004: Pemberton Old Wigan, Vernon Building Society Poynton
2003: United Co-op (Crewe), United Norwest Co-op Milnrow
2002: Pemberton Old, Ashton Under Lyne
2001: Mossley, United Co-op Crewe
2000: Longridge, Mossey
1999: Ashton Under Lyne, Stalybridge
1998: Congleton, Dobcross
1997: Freckleton, Berisford Cardway
1996: British Aerospace, Longridge
1995: United Norwest Co-op, British Aerospace    

North West Bands at the Finals: 

2008: 5th, 12th
2007: 3rd, 5th
2006: 2nd, 3rd
2005: 3rd, 9th
2004: 1st, 6th
2003: 2nd, 3rd
2002: 5th, 9th
2001: 7th, 8th
2000: 2nd, 13th
1999: 1st, 11th
1998: 6th, 10th  

4BR Prediction: 

A pretty evenly matched group of bands – but a few do seem to have the edge on paper.

The test piece is fiendishly difficult though and it will not only be the best technical bands that win through, but those with the reserves of stamina too. 

We think experience will count then and so we opt for Freckleton and Poynton to qualify, closely followed by Blackburn & Darwen, Ashton under Lyne, Longridge and Wardle. Our dark horse is Tyldesley.

1. Freckleton
2. VBS Poynton
3. Blackburn & Darwen
4. Ashton under Lyne
5. Longridge
6. Wardle and District Anderson Brass
Dark Horse: Tyldesley


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